“Connecting the Ecosystem” Takes Center Stage at 2023 Outdoor Economy Conference, September 18-21

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The largest national convening of outdoor economy stakeholders returns to Cherokee, NC.


WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA — SEPTEMBER 6, 2023—The highly anticipated 5th Annual Outdoor Economy Conference kicks off in Western North Carolina from September 18-21. Industry leaders, trailblazers, and visionaries from across the nation will gather at the Cherokee Convention Center in Cherokee, NC, igniting this powerful celebration of the outdoor recreation economy. With an impressive lineup of over 70 speakers, thought-provoking workshops, immersive outdoor networking excursions, vibrant receptions and evening events, this conference is an unmissable opportunity to connect and learn with key stakeholders and peers from across the outdoor recreation economy.

The 2023 Outdoor Economy Conference theme, “Connecting the Ecosystem,” speaks to aligning our collective vision across disciplines, and both seeing and stewarding our outdoor economy as an interconnected system that thrives from the cross-pollination of communities and ideas, paving the way for a sustainable future for all.

Conference programming is anchored by four core tracks: Building Vibrant Outdoor Communities; Advancing Inclusive and Effective Coalitions; Leveling Up Outdoor Businesses; and, Envisioning Outdoors 2.0. 

Common threads that weave throughout the four core tracks include:

  • Equity
  • Sustainability & Resiliency
  • Funding
  • Accessibility & Inclusivity
  • Workforce
  • Leadership
  • User Retention & Growth
  • Policy
  • Data & Trends

Attendees can also expect the return of our immensely popular Expo space, the Trail Planning and Development Workshop hosted by the renowned International Mountain Bicycling Association, facilitated networking opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals, and outdoor excursions to become fully immersed in the beauty of Western North Carolina.

“We are thrilled to bring together so many dynamic and visionary individuals from across the nation to celebrate a shared vision of a vibrant and inclusive outdoor economy,” said Amy Allison, Director of the MADE X MTNS Partnership and co-director of the Outdoor Economy Conference.

“This gathering is more than a conference; it is an exciting opportunity to forge meaningful connections that will inspire and drive innovation across all sectors of the outdoor recreation economy,” she adds.

The Outdoor Economy Conference is made possible by the invaluable support of many dedicated sponsors including the 2022 Presenting Sponsor, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, who will lead the kickoff and closing ceremonies. Event partners include the MADE X MTNS Partnership, North Carolina Outdoor Industry Recreation Office, The Outdoor Business Alliance of WNC, and Mountain BizWorks, whose collaboration and commitment contribute to making this conference an exceptional and impactful experience.

“From time immemorial, the Cherokee have had a sacred connection to the land. We are honored to host the Outdoor Economy Conference and share both our culture and our local vision for Eco-Tourism and natural resource stewardship,” says Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed. 

Tickets are available at outdooreconomy.org. See the Speaker List and view the full Conference Agenda to learn more. Join the conversation on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram by tagging #outdooreconomy.

About the MADE X MTNS Partnership

The MADE X MTNS (Made By Mountains) Partnership is working to expand the outdoor industry and economy across North Carolina’s Appalachian region and catalyze rural development by building vibrant outdoor communities, growing outdoor businesses, and amplifying outdoor culture. The Partnership includes Outdoor Business Alliance of WNC, Mountain BizWorks, and the NC Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, as well as numerous stakeholders including regional universities, rural communities, economic development, and conservation organizations. With support from the Appalachian Regional Commission and Dogwood Health Trust, MADE X MTNS celebrates, supports, and builds a stronger sense of pride around our region, our people, and the extraordinary outdoor recreation industry and culture that these mountains have made. For more information, visit madexmtns.com or @madexmtns on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.


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